The following is a list of notable people who have died from drug-related causes. Criteria for inclusion are death from overdose, death from organ-failure/illness due to or exacerbated by drug use, or death from suicide/misadventure under the influence of drugs.

Drug-Related Deaths - Notable Celebrities

The tragic loss of a renowned celebrity or athlete to a drug or alcohol-related death is an event that often leaves many unanswered questions. Famous and much-loved celebrities such as Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, and Heath Ledger have been the victims of such unfortunate circumstances. While many deaths may be due to misuse of illegal substances, these drugs are not always illicit - and an overdose may not always be intentional.

Drug Interactions Can Be Deadly

Death due to drugs can also be the result of mixing prescribed medications with other drugs (legal or illegal), alcohol, over-the-counter medications or even herbal supplements. Drug-drug interactions may also play a role in drug-related deaths. For example, the consumption of multiple central nervous system depressants, such as opioid pain killers, sedatives, hypnotics, or alcohol may lead to an unintentional overdose due to severely depressed breathing.

Mixing illicit, prescription or over-the-counter medications can be dangerous, and patients should always rule out drug interactions with their healthcare provider. The use of prescription medications with illegal drugs or alcohol can produce an unpredictable and fatal response, and many deaths due to such circumstances may have been preventable.

The following table outlines the death of notable celebrities and athletes who have had drugs or alcohol implicated in their deaths.

Philip Seymour Hoffman Actor Heroin overdose (unconfirmed) Illegal drug

Cory Monteith Actor (Glee) and singer Toxic mix of heroin and alcohol Illegal drug and alcohol

Lisa Robin Kelly Actress (That '70s Show) Multiple drug intoxication Illegal drug

Chris Kelly Rapper (Kris Kross) Fatal overdose, cocaine and heroin Illegal drug

Jeff Hanneman Musician (Slayer) Cirrhosis due to alcoholism Alcohol

Whitney Houston American singer, actress Drowning; complications of cocaine and heart disease; Flexeril, marijuana, Xanax and Benadryl also found in body but did not contribute to death Illegal drug

Michael Carl Baze Horse jockey Overdose; cocaine, oxymorphone (accidental) Mixed prescription/ illegal drugs

Derek Boogaard Canadian professional ice hockey player; left wing (New York Rangers) Alcohol and oxycodone overdose (accidental) Mixed alcohol and prescription drugs

Amy Winehouse English singer and songwriter Fatal alcohol poisoning; alcoholism Alcohol

Erica Blasberg American golfer (LPGA) Asphyxia; multiple drug overdose: butalbital, temazepam, alprazolam, codeine, hydrocodone, and tramadol (suicide) Prescription drugs

Andy Irons Surfer Cardiac arrest complicated by mixed drug ingestion (cocaine, methamphetamine, alprazolam, methadone) Mixed illegal and prescription drugs

Edward Fatu “Umaga” Samoan-American professional wrestler Hydrocodone, carisoprodol, diazepam (accidental) Prescription drug overdose

Michael Jackson American Pop Singer and icon Cardiac arrest, acute propofol intoxication; midazolam, lidocaine, diazepam, lorazepam also noted in autopsy report Prescription drugs

Billy Mays Spokesperson Heart disease possibly complicated by cocaine use Illegal drug

Christopher Bowman American figure skater Drug overdose: cocaine, diazepam, cannabis, alcohol (accidental) Mixed alcohol, illegal and prescription drugs

Heath Ledger Australian actor Combined drug toxicity due to oxycodone, hydrocodone, alprazolam, diazepam, temazepam, doxylamine (accidental) Prescription drug overdose

Scott Charles (“Bam Bam”) Bigelow American professional wrestler; World Wrestling Federation (WWF) and World Championship Wrestling (WCW) Multiple drug overdose: cocaine, temazepam (accidental), possibly worsened by heart disease Mixed illegal and prescription drugs

Chris Mainwaring Australian Football Player Cocaine overdose (accidental) Illegal drug

Anna Nicole Smith American model, Playboy playmate, actress Combined drug toxicity due to chloral hydrate and benzodiazepines (accidental) Prescription drugs

Ike Turner Musician, bandleader, songwriter, producer Cardiovascular, lung disease complicated by cocaine overdose (accidental) Illegal drug

George Best Professional soccer player Complications due to alcohol abuse, alcoholism Alcohol

Eddie Guerrero Professional wrestler Cardiomyopathy, heart disease, possibly due to anabolic steroid use Anabolic steroids (speculated)

Steven Scott Bechler Major League baseball pitcher; Baltimore Orioles Heat stroke exacerbated by ephedra Alternative/herbal drug

Anthony Durante Professional wrestler Oxycodone or fentanyl overdose (accidental) Prescription drug overdose

Howie Epstein American bass guitarist (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers) Possible heroin overdose; also reportedly using prescription antibiotics Illegal drug overdose

Elisa Bridges American model, actress Drug overdose: heroin, methamphetamine, alprazolam, meperidine Mixed illegal and prescription drugs

Douglas Glenn Colvin, aka Dee Dee Ramone American songwriter and musician (The Ramones) Heroin overdose (accidental) Illegal drug

John Entwistle English bass guitarist (The Who) Heart attack induced by cocaine Illegal drug

Darrell Porter American professional baseball player Cocaine overdose (accident) Illegal drug

Christopher Wiley Antley Horse jockey; 2-time Kentucky Derby winner Overdose; (clobenzorex, paroxetine, methamphetamine, carbamazepine) and trauma (accidental) Prescription drugs

Chris Farley Comedian, actor; Saturday Night Live sketch comedy TV show Overdose; combination of morphine and cocaine; complicated by heart disease; fluoxetine also in system (accidental) Illegal drugs

Peter Jackson Australian rugby player Heroin overdose (suicide) Illegal drug

Margeaux Hemingway American actress Phenobarbital overdose; suicide Prescription drug overdose

Kurt Cobain American singer-songwriter and musician (Nirvana) Gunshot wound to head; heroin and diazepam found in body (suicide) Mixed illegal and prescription drugs

River Phoenix American actor Heroin and cocaine overdose Illegal drugs

David Waymer American football player, NFLHeart attack, cocaine related Illegal drug

Paul Hayward Professional Rugby League Player; Newton Jets (Australia) Heroin overdose; contracted HIV in prison Illegal drug overdose

John Kordic Professional hockey player Lung failure complicated by unspecified drug overdose (possible anabolic steroid abuse) unknown

Abbie Hoffman American Political activist Phenobarbital overdose (suicide) Prescription drug overdose

Chet BakerJazz musician and singer, trumpet player, guitarist Accidental fall from hotel window; cocaine, heroin Illegal drugs

David Croudip American football defensive cornerback for the Atlanta Falcons Cocaine overdose (accidental) Illegal drug

Len Bias Boston Celtics second overall NBA draft pick (1986) Cardiac arrhythmia induced by a cocaine overdose (accidental) Illegal drug

Don Rogers Football safety in the National Football League (US), Cleveland Browns Fatal cocaine overdose (accidental) Illegal drug

Richard Burton Welsh-born actor Cerebral hemorrhage; possible complications due to alcohol, alcoholism Alcohol

Truman Capote American writer Liver disease complicated by phlebitis, alcohol and multiple drug intoxication Alcohol

David Kennedy Fourth son of Robert F. Kennedy; no profession Overdose of cocaine, meperidine, thioridazine (controversial, some say he was murdered) Mixed illegal and prescription drugs

John Belushi American actor; comedian; musician; Saturday Night Live comedy TV show Speedball overdose; a combination of heroin and cocaine (accidental) Illegal drugs

Jon Bonham English musician (drummer) and songwriter (Led Zeppelin) Asphyxiation due to massive alcohol consumption Alcohol1

John Simon Ritchie, aka Sid Vicious Musician (Sex Pistols) Heroin overdose (suicide) Illegal drug

Keith MoonDrummer (The Who) Clomethiazole overdose Prescription drug

Elvis Presley American musician, singer, actor, cultural icon Heart arrhythmia, possibly aggravated by multiple prescriptions (methaqualone, codeine, barbiturates, cocaine), speculated Mixed illegal and prescription drugs, speculated

Freddie Prinze Actor Self-inflicted gunshot; possibly under influence of methaqualone, cocaine (suicide) Mixed illegal and prescription drugs, speculated

Howard Hughes American business tycoon, movie producer and director, aviator, engineer, investor Kidney failure; possible complications due to chronic use of aspirin (high doses) and dehydration Nonprescription drug (not confirmed)

Bruce Lee Martial artist, actor, film director, pop culture icon Cerebral edema due to meprobramate, aspirin Prescription drug overdose

Jim Morrison Musician, singer, songwriter (The Doors) Heart failure; possible heroin or cocaine overdose (disputed) Illegal drug

Jimi Hendrix American musician and singer-songwriter Respiratory arrest, asphyxia due to alcohol and barbiturate overdose; vomit inhalation Mixed alcohol and prescription drugs

Janis Joplin American musician Heroin overdose Illegal drug

Judy Garland American actress and singer Barbiturate (Seconal) overdose; controversial if suicide or accident Prescription drug overdose

Brian Jones Musician (The Rolling Stones) Drowning due to alcohol and drug intoxication unknown

Jack Kerouac Author Cirrhosis of liver, internal bleeding due to alcohol use Alcohol

Brian Epstein English businessman; manager (The Beatles) Sedative overdose (accidental) Prescription drug overdose

Lenny Bruce American comedian Drug overdose: morphine (accidental) Illegal drugs

Eugene “Big Daddy” Lipscomb Football defensive lineman in the National Football League (US), Pittsburgh Steelers; professional wrestlerHeroin overdose (accidental)Illegal drug196331

Marilyn Monroe American actress, model, singer, sex symbol Barbiturate overdose (suicide) Prescription drug

Billy Holiday American jazz singer and songwriter Cirrhosis of the liver due to alcohol; alcoholism Alcohol

Joseph McCarthy U.S. Senator Hepatitis exacerbated by alcohol, alcoholism Alcohol

Tommy Dorsey American jazz musician Choked himself while sleeping; unable to awaken due to sedative use Prescription drug overdose

Hank Williams, Sr. Country music singer-songwriter Heart failure, possibly alcohol, drug-related (accidental) Mixed alcohol and Illegal drugs (speculated)

Sigmund Freud Neurologist Physician-assisted suicide; morphine Prescription drug overdose